An accountant and construction company director who cheated HMRC out of £350,000 in VAT payments has been jailed.

Stephen Love, 63, of Somerset, admitted pocketing the VAT he charged his clients. He used the money as cash flow for his business.

Love was a director of construction company J B A Martin Ltd, of Aldershot, Hampshire and of Wessex Accountants Ltd which looked after the building firm’s books.

Richard Wilkinson, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said: “Stephen Love kept the VAT he charged his customers.

“As an accountant he should have known better, but he abused the position of trust his profession put him in to steal the money that should have been funding public services.

“Tax fraud will not be tolerated and HMRC is working to create a level playing field for legitimate local businesses who cannot compete with their criminal competitors.

Love pleaded guilty to the offence at Yeovil Magistrates Court and was sentenced at Taunton Crown Court to two years and three months in prison.

On sentencing, Judge David Ticehurst said: “You knew what you were doing as a fully-trained accountant. This was a serious offence and the criminal act has an impact on your family.”

Source: Construction Enquirer.

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